KonnektU: shorten the planning horizon and create new opportunities for customers

According to statistics, over 70% of consumers expect personalized communication from companies, while more than half of them are disappointed if they don’t receive it. Netflix, Amazon or Spotify experience confirms this, their algorithms study user behavior and personalize their next offer, anticipating users’ interests. In order to collect and combine consumer data from different systems, and to track how their tastes change over time, CDP platforms are needed.

Despite the fact that companies want to “track” their customer journey both in offline and online sales channels, online is the priority as more industries transform business processes, integrating more and more digital technologies and solutions.

For example, a few years ago, the major clients of our platform were companies from the FMCG, DYI and retail industries. Today, leading Russian and international companies use KonnektU services from such areas as: auto, rea lestate, development, financial sector, pharmaceuticals, online platforms and services. Over the past year, we implemented over 200 promotional campaigns and loyalty programs using the platform.

From CRM to CDP

KonnektU was a traditional CRM platform for marketing automation with the ability to configure and manage any type of promotional campaigns and loyalty programs. But a few years ago, it became clear that one of the most popular technologies would be CDP, a unified platform that can work with all channels of interaction with consumers, has flexible segmentation tools and allows you to create a single customer profile from all channels. Having studied the best international practices and the needs of our clients, we have created a client data management platform (CDP), combining all the accumulated experience and some innovative ideas in it. In 2020, we brought this solution to the market.

Architecture for processing big data is assembled under the platform hood, which allows you to work with a huge number of segments through the interface, upload information to advertising platforms, use direct marketing, connect machine learning algorithms that can process data and increase the effectiveness of marketing tools. KonnektU can integrate with any client’s internal platforms, create dynamic object models and api methods to combine data into a single profile.

A distinctive feature of our platform in the early years of its existence was the ability to customize it to the needs of a particular customer. Then the work was structured in this way: we recognized the client’s task and tried it on to our capabilities. If we understood that at the moment we do not have the tools to solve it, we completed the functionality of the platform. After some time, we had a system at our disposal that had the widest possible range of opportunities for launching promotional campaigns, automating loyalty programs, services for direct marketing communications, targeting and analytics.

Later, we abandoned this model — the existing tools are more than enough to form a client’s profile: we connect the services that are needed, as well as integrate the client’s internal systems with our platform and accumulate data on our side, or enrich it on the client’s side.

However, there are exceptions to this rule as well. So, in order to work in the field of development, we had to almost completely “rebuild” the platform to solve the problems of the client, a large federal developer of residential real estate. As a result, she was able to replace 12 external and internal solutions that collect consumer data: from CRM to an end-to-end analytics system.

KonnektU and MTS

In 2019, we realized: our product is successful; we know how to sell it, and the cash-flow is positive, but if we want to develop at a faster pace, we need investments. And not so much in financial areas as in specialized ones: access to technology, help in the architecture of big data or with access to new markets.

In September 2021, we raised about 120 million from the MTS Venture Fund. The main goal of our strategic partnership is to combine the capabilities of the CDP platform and MTS Big Data, one of the largest players in the market, and create an integrated system that analyzes consumer behavior and allows you to interact with them at all stages of the funnel. Now we are developing our product both in technology and big data, and in commercial sales and joint activities.

Why MTS? It’s simple: the company processes anonymized data about 65 million users of mobile communications and its ecosystem services. The partnership with MTS allowed KonnektU clients to get access to big data processing technologies and capabilities, advanced analytics.

I think that the choice in favor of MTS was correct, given both the current situation and the market opportunities that are now opening up. Investments have allowed us not to suspend development in the current situation, but on the contrary, to attract new customers, expand the team and portfolio of services and services.

How to work in a new reality?

Of course, we face a lot of difficulties. Our clients are large Russian and international businesses. Several large foreign companies have suspended work in Russia, some have taken a wait-and-see attitude. The analogy with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic would be logical, when many companies also froze part of their advertising and analytics budgets.

However, in the current situation, besides the quite natural suspension of several projects, we are seeing an influx of new clients who are looking to replace international platforms with Russian software. The reason for this is the decision of some American and European CDP platforms to either “freeze” the further sale of licenses and develop their product in Russia, or leave the market. Because of this, large Russian companies that were using foreign systems have to look for alternative solutions.

The current crisis is an opportunity for us to improve our business performance and create new options for the market and customers.

Of course, we have had to make several strategic decisions through which we hope to maintain our strong position in the market. First of all, we reduced the planning horizon from a year to a quarter. Secondly, we have shifted the focus to industries that are in the zone of less turbulence: retail, pharma, large online platforms, a significant part of which are ecosystem players. There has been a noticeable increase in demand from companies in the financial sector, which used to work on international platforms.

We have rebuilt internal business processes so that companies can migrate from international platforms to our solutions. Today it takes up to 1 month.

It is important to understand that global instability changes not only the business landscape but also the purchasing habits of users. The user journey and experience that was familiar to your client can undergo significant changes. Now more than ever, it is important to get to know the user as closely as possible, follow their tastes and habits, and offer a service or product that expects their interest.